Mastertakes

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Funny face Takashi Murakami’s complex paintings combine elements of Japanese manga
Funny face Takashi Murakami’s complex paintings combine elements of Japanese manga

Dhruvi Acharya On Art

For the past few years I have been impressed by Japanese artist Takashi Murakami’s very highly finished paintings and complex sculptures. Murakami’s work is a thoroughly conceptualised and personal combination of symbol, psychology and aesthetic composition. Influenced by Japanese nihonga (painting), anime (cartoons) and manga (comic books), he has been involved with the theorisation, presentation, and creation of a style of work that he has named Superflat. This refers to his desire to remove the distinction between high and low art, and between fine and commercial art. Murakami’s art company KaiKai KiKi, employs over a hundred artists and technicians to create the art, as well as toy figures, stickers, bags, prints etc. Using the many characters like DOB that he has created, he playfully addresses modern demons like the holocaust, as well as autobiographical issues. A few other contemporary artists I greatly admire and must mention are: Lari Pittman, Os Gemeos, Barry McGee, Margaret Kilgallen, Julie Meheretu, Kara Walker, Kiki Smith, Atul Dodiya and NS Harsha.

Acharya is an artist who lives in Mumbai

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Madhulika Liddle On Books

Jeffrey Archer’s False Impression brings together several seemingly disparate elements. Van Gogh’s masterpiece, Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear; the 9/11 attack on the WTC; and Romania in the aftermath of Ceauşescu’s tyranny. It’s a fast-paced read, with twists and turns at almost every step. The action switches between New York, Britain, Bucharest, and Tokyo as different people — a Japanese millionaire, an art expert, a hardened killer, a crooked banker and an FBI agent — compete, co-operate and scheme. Unlike A Prisoner of Birth or First Among Equals, the last-sentence twist in the tale isn’t there, and there are places where the story sags a bit. Despite that, this is a good read and hard to put down.

Liddle is an author who lives in Delhi

Jeffrey Archer’s False Impression is fast-paced and has twists at every step

Madhulika Liddle

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Counting the pennies A poster for Bara Anna
Counting the pennies A poster for Bara Anna

Deepika Gandhi On Film

Recently, Bara Anna by Raja Menon, which will be released in March, has impressed me. The time is right for India to know that there’s a divide between the rich and the poor concentrated in Mumbai. The film deals with what people like drivers, waiters or watchmen go through. Then, there’s Bad Education by Pedro Almodovar. It’s set in the early 1980s and is about transvestites, sex and the Catholic Church. The performances are outstanding — Gael Garcia Bernal has done a fabulous job. The film is interestingly shot. It has so many layers and elements to it and sexual abuse is one of the issues it deals with. It’s a great film.

Gandhi is a line producer who lives in Mumbai

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Strings Khush Arora is part of the dubstep scene
Strings Khush Arora is part of the dubstep scene

Taru Dalmia On Music

Right now, I’m interested in a form of music called dubstep that came out of Englandand burst onto the international scene in 2005. Dubstep has a slow rolling bass and is more modern than forms like reggae that use the voice. Dubstep gives us the scope to experiment and bring in Indian genres as well. Some Indians like Sub swara and Khush Arora inSan Francisco are playing it. It isn’t explicitly political, but like reggae, dubstep is atmospheric and expresses the discontent and frustration that’s in the air.

Dalmia (aka Delhi Sultanate) is a performer who lives in Delhi

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Christopher Saleem Agha Bee On Food

In Goa, shack food has a bad reputation but I have lunch at shacks on various beaches and know that you can get good fish curry and fried mussels there. Then, there are places like La Poisson Rouge, on the Baga bridge, which serves French fare. Gregory, who owns the place, uses local ingredients in his food and tries a different take on things. His pomfret with Goan sausage crust especially is nice and very different. Now, Kashmiri food isn’t something you expect in Goa, but Mimms Arabian Sea is one place that serves good Kashmiri food. Though it tends to be a little heavy on the beach I enjoy having Kashmiri food. I also enjoy dining at Bomra’s Place in Sinquerim.

Saleem Agha Bee owns Sublime restaurant at Anjuna in Goa

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